USA: Online travel companies win at federal appellate court in hotel occupancy tax case

The Interactive Travel Services Association announced that a federal appellate court has affirmed the dismissal of a suit brought by Pitt County, North Carolina, which claimed that online travel companies, including, Expedia,, Orbitz, and Travelocity are responsible for paying the county’s hotel occupancy tax.The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit’s decision of Jan. 14, 2009, rejecting Pitt County’s tax claims is the first appellate decision by any federal or state court nationwide on the merits of the occupancy tax issue. In rejecting Pitt County’s appeal, the court ruled that under the clear language of the county’s occupancy tax ordinance and North Carolina’s state sales tax statute (G.S. 105-164.4), the online travel companies are not lodging “retailers” subject to the tax.Source: press release of Jan. 15, 2009; find full text here>>.

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